State Board of Education: Dave Cook


Dave Cook


58 years old



BA Political Science (UNLV)

BSBA Accounting (UNLV)

MBA Business (UNLV)


I've been a tenured Professor of Economics at Western Nevada College for the last 19 years. I first started teaching part-time at WNC in 1982.


• 8 Years as a member of the Carson City School Board (1988-1996), including Board President in 1993.

• 2 Years as president of Carson City's "Silver Sage" PTA council (1994-1996).

• 4 Years as a member of the State Board of Education (1997-2000),including serving as chairman of the State Board's Charter School Subcommittee (1999-2000).

• 4 years as a member of the Carson City Charter Review Commission (2002-2005), and served as the Commission's Vice-President (2004- 2005).


I'm a 28-year resident of Carson City. I have lived in Nevada my entire life. I'm a fourth generation Nevadan. In the 1850s, my family settled in the Utah territory in what would eventually become Lincoln County, Nevada. I was born and raised in Las Vegas in 1950 and moved to Carson City in 1980.




My two daughters, Danielle and Elizabeth, are native Nevadans who were raised in Carson City, educated in local schools, and graduated from Carson High School. They now both attend college in Nevada. Danielle is working on a pre-law degree and plans to attend law school. Elizabeth is progressing toward a Deaf Studies degree (American Sign Language) planning to become a nationally certified interpreter for the deaf.


• The "Diplomas Count 2008" report, produced by the Gates Foundation, states that Nevada has the lowest graduation rate in the nation at just 45.4%.

• Also, the rate of Nevada high school graduates continuing directly onto college is an only about 27%.

• Finally, 35.7% of Nevada's high school graduates statewide needed math and English remediation upon starting college. In Carson City, 45% of our high school graduates needed math and English remediation upon starting college last Fall. These rates are NOT acceptable. We should be doing a lot better. Unfortunately, our public school system statewide only gets a "D".


• Nevada high school graduation rates must be improved. According to the Gates Foundation study, Nevada high school graduation rate actually grew worse between 2001 and 2005. We must be more successful in keeping our students in school in programs that lead to graduation.

• Nevada students must become successful students who are proficient in English, math, science, history, civics, and other important topics by the time they graduate.

• Nevada high school graduates must be ready to either enter the workforce or continue onto college with effective math and English skills which do not need to be remediated.


• I want to increase opportunities for schools to use alternative educational programs such as partnerships with local colleges, magnet schools, and charter schools.

• It has become obvious that the burdens placed upon our public schools by the federal "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB) Act are not worth the money we get from the federal government. It's time to end our participation in NCLB in Nevada. I want our teachers to be free in their own classrooms without the constant interference that NCLB creates. Our education efforts need to be directed toward individual student needs in the classroom.


I want to increase opportunities for schools to offer alternative educational programs such as partnerships with local colleges, magnet schools, charter schools, and vouchers which allow parents more choice opportunities. A program which offers a state stipend to help offset private school tuition costs can certainly be considered for the families of special-needs children and disadvantaged children. Such a limited stipend program would actually increase revenues to school districts by splitting the state allocation for these students between both the school district and the private school.


I'm running for the State Board of Education because I believe that we can find solutions. However, the incumbent board member from this district does not offer the leadership and determination that are required to do that job. It is time for our schools to focus on structural reforms, returning to basics, and reducing the massive burdens of administrative overhead that keep our tax dollars from getting to the classroom and providing a top-flight education for our children. Finally, I'm proud to have received the endorsement of "Nevada Concerned Citizens".


I've spent my entire life educating and caring about our children, as a college teacher, a local

school board member and a state school board member, among many other efforts. I have decided to run for the State Board of Education because educating Nevada's children is so important to me and also because public education faces such a challenging and uncertain future.


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